Horizon:Volume 5B Chapter 34
Chapter 34: Recipients of the Lap Palace
Point Allocation (I Am Happy)
Masazumi sighed as she looked out the window and into the night sky.
She was in the Student Council Room on the 3rd floor of the academy.
It was 1 AM, but the members of the Student Council, Chancellor’s Officers, and others were lying or sitting on the tatami mat floor.
They had just finished eating the bentos they had ordered and they were now taking a break.
Those who had been up top had to be exhausted. Since they had been a part of the negotiations after that, they were now sleeping on the floor. Naomasa had been in the engine division instead of dealing with the negotiation, so she must have been able to catch a nap earlier.
“What’s everyone sleeping all over the floor for? Couldn’t they at least take a bath first?”
Even as she said that, Crossunite and Mary were covering them all with the blankets they had brought in.
“Naomasa, your bento is over there.”
“Judge. The Asama Shrine ones have a weariness-reducing divine protection added to the included sake, so I’ll wait until later.”
“You too, Asama-chi?”
Asama was sleeping in a half-sitting position with the empty bento boxes stacked up next to her. And she had two people using her lap as a pillow:
“Aoi and Horizon were on the receiving end of all sorts of scolding from Asama. But…”
“Well…you know how Horizon is. After using the Logismoi Oplo so often, she needed to sleep to optimize herself. Aoi initially said he would crossdress and lend her his lap, but the sleepiness won out and this was the result. From there, Asama and then Kimi fell asleep.”
Asama had placed her track suit over the two sleeping on her lap and she had the Aoi Sister’s track suit top placed over her. The Aoi Sister was sleeping while clinging to Asama’s butt and she had Mitotsudaira’s track suit top placed over her.
Mitotsudaira was still awake, but she was clearly starting to nod off.
“Mitotsudaira, we have blankets now, so you can use one to sleep.”
“Aeh? …Oh, I-I’m fine.”
“Do you think you’re the night watchwoman?” asked Naomasa as she handed Mitotsudaira three blankets.
“One for those three, one for Asama-chi, and one for you.”
Sure enough, that would work. The idiot was sleeping face-up and Asama’s left breast was functioning something like an eye mask, but it must have been an accident with no impure thoughts behind it because Hanami did not react while taking care of some leftover work on Asama’s shoulder.
Mitotsudaira placed a blanket over the three lying on the floor and placed one over Asama. She wrapped it around Asama’s front side which hid Aoi and the others, but was that done out of a knightly desire to protect her king?
She then placed the final blanket over her own shoulders and sat next to Aoi, but…
“Mito, Toori’s arm is sticking out to the side there.”
“I-I am not going to lick his hand!”
“I was actually trying to suggest you use his arm as a pillow, but suit yourself.”
Mitotsudaira blushed, but she showed no sign of leaving Aoi’s side.
This may have been the battle formation Horizon had mentioned.
It only looked like Horizon, Asama, and that group were with Aoi, but in fact…
“Oh, Futayo is over there.”
She was asleep while sprawled out on the floor by the entrance. That was likely her position as Horizon’s guard. When someone walked down the hall, she would grab Tonbo Spare’s shaft in her sleep, making a troubling noise. It was just like Crossunite to have intentionally kept the blanket off of her dominant hand when placing it over her.
The Tachibana Couple seemed to be taking a break after eating their bentos beyond the partition placed at the entrance, and the others were much the same.
…Crossunite, Urquiaga, Neshinbara, Bertoni, and the others are here too.
Those were late night group.
Having finished distributing the blankets, Crossunite and Mary were finally starting on the bentos they had not eaten before. Neshinbara was writing up a report on the events of the day. As soon as Bertoni had arrived, he had said “This is my desk, isn’t it?”, chosen one of the two lined up there, and set up a locking spell and other things while communicating with Augesvarer via divine transmission.
It was unusual for all of the officers to be gathered like this.
Noriki, Persona-kun, Ohiroshiki, and some others who held no office were out across Musashi for their respective jobs, but that too was…
“A battle formation, hm?”
With that comment, Masazumi relaxed her shoulders.
With Aoi as the leader…well, he is the leader, isn’t he? Technically, at least? Maybe? At any rate he was at the center and the others either took up position close to him or around him. They had created those positions for themselves even if they were not aware of it.
…Is my position over there?
Masazumi thought about her position within the geometric pattern formed by tatami mats and blankets.
With bento in hand, Naomasa sighed and approached the windowsill where Masazumi stood.
She sat sideways in the windowsill space as if placing herself inside the window frame. She stuck her left half out the window, but she held onto the window frame with her right false arm.
“Keep up the good work,” she said.
“You can eat inside.”
“I might have a smoke and Adele and Suzu don’t like the smell.”
“I see,” said Masazumi as she turned to see Balfette and Mukai sleeping alongside the Satomi Student Council President. They were by the wall nearest Aoi’s group. But…
“…What is going on there?” asked Naomasa.
Mukai was collapsed in a shallow S-shape with her arms overhead, Yoshiyasu’s head rested on her left hip, and Balfette covered her from right belly to chest.
Masazumi thought back on what had happened.
“At first, the Satomi Student Council President felt sleepy and borrowed Mukai’s lap. Balfette was watching her sleep and almost instantly fell asleep herself. Mukai couldn’t support them and collapsed, so she just gave up and fell asleep herself.”
“Yeah, Suzu has a way of letting people do whatever they want if she trusts them.” There was a slight smile in Naomasa’s voice. She grabbed some food with her chopsticks as she spoke. “This is sort of made for someone on a diet, isn’t it? Instead of a lot of food, it makes you use your chopsticks more often.”
“Oh, so it makes you feel like you ate more than you did?”
“I guess you wouldn’t notice since you take small bites regardless, Masazumi.”
Is that true? she wondered.
Naomasa then asked a question while grabbing some boiled sweet potato.
“What are we going to do now?”
“Well.” Masazumi responded to Naomasa’s question. “Sanada’s Principal has already gone ahead to Sanada territory because he has to get everything in order for our arrival. Sanada’s Chancellor should be staying in our diplomatic building to complete the process on our end. …With their help, the plan is for the Musashi to leave the Ariake early tomorrow morning and arrive in Sanada territory by evening.”
“Judge, judge. And once we arrive, it’s 4 days and 3 nights for the study camp, right?”
Naomasa used voice input to convert Masazumi’s explanation to text and then did some typing to fix a conversion mistake. She likely intended to inform the engine division. That said…
…There’s no real point in telling the engine division this.
“While moving around, we’ll be taking exams in the mornings and having physical examinations and such in the afternoons, so prepare yourself.”
“…So this study camp is going to be more about testing than studying, is it?”
Masazumi looked over to see Naomasa grabbing more of her bento. You take pretty small bites yourself, she thought before correcting the other girl.
“We’re students, so we have to take care of our schoolwork first.”
“I’ve never liked schoolwork. I find war a lot more exciting and fun.”
Naruze sleepily sat up and moved her unsteady right hand as if writing in the air.
After writing out those invisible words, Naruze collapsed back onto the floor.
Naomasa looked past her prosthetic arm and at the others.
“Are those idiots going to be okay?”
“I’d say that they’re idiots, they’re okay, and they’re also dangerous.”
“Saying that isn’t going to fix them.”
Naomasa was quite strict. Could she say that because she had known them for so long?
The word “old friends” came to mind, so Masazumi asked a question.
“Where do you think Principal Sakai is planning to take us?”
“Huh? How would I know?”
“You’re from Kantou, aren’t you? You can’t make any guesses?”
“I’m from south Kantou while Sanada is in central Kantou. This was the first I’d heard of Principal Sakai having friends in Sanada. It does make sense that he would’ve used it as a route on the way to Europe. But…”
“Can you think of anything?”
“You know as well as I do, don’t you? Before he came to Musashi, Principal Sakai was demoted and sent to Edo for failing to stop the suicide of Lord Motonobu’s younger brother. He said he went around visiting some ruins.”
That reminded Masazumi.
Back at Mikawa, he had indeed mentioned that when disembarking.
And at the time, he had said…
“He caused the name inheritor of Lord Motonobu’s heir to commit suicide…”
“Judge. Lord Motonobu’s younger brother had inherited the name of his heir: Matsudaira Nobuyasu.”
That was not the end of the story.
While speaking with Sanada Masayuki, Sakai had first said…
…There’s nothing about a place you can’t figure out by going there, is there?
And then he had said…
…I couldn’t figure it out when I was there. Oh, but that was the second time. And I was ordered to go that time.
“The second time?”
“I’d assume the first time was on his way to Europe,” said Naomasa.
“Judge,” replied Masazumi as she thought about this. If that was his first time, “The second time would have been…when he was visiting ruins after being demoted and sent to Edo.”
“Probably. And if that demotion was the ‘order’ he mentioned, whose order was it? And what for? That’s a bit of a mystery.”
“I see,” said Masazumi with a nod. But then she heard a sudden voice.
It was Crossunite.
Tenzou was faced with a new experience.
He had never before come across this situation.
…Dealing with a drunk busty blonde!
Mary sat in front of him and turned her unfocused eyes toward him.
Her face was red, and occasionally…
She would tremble as if hiccupping.
What had caused this? The sake, obviously.
The Asama Shrine’s bentos came with sake. That sake of course contained a weariness-reducing divine protection and it would not get you drunk even if you drank it like sake. The intoxication would be purified away as a burden on the body.
But it had been a poor match for a spirit-user like Mary.
The sake spirits that lived in the sake had permeated her body after the weariness was removed. The intoxication would normally be removed as a burden and the sake spirits would be weak enough to ignore.
…But she must have welcomed the contents of the sake in order to help remove her weariness.
Mary could normally drink wine, ales, refined sake, or shochu. She had grown up in Europe, so she had a greater tolerance for alcohol than Tenzou did.
But now she was drunk, even if only a little. As for why…
…That would be due to the burden of the battle.
Their lives really had been on the line this time. And Tenzou remembered that Mary had cried when she came to rescue him. “That ninja” was still the 5th most searched term on the divine network. I can’t take this lightly. But…
“Listen, Master Tenzou.”
“Good. You listened.”
…What was the point of that!?
But Mary patted her left hand on the tatami mat floor.
“Master Tenzou, you have treated me quite well, but I do have one complaint.”
“Wh-what is that!?”
Tenzou realized Masazumi and Naomasa were expressionlessly looking his way from the window beyond Mary. Naomasa moved her jaw to mouth “go on”, so what even was this situation?
But Mary could not see them and she answered his question.
“Let’s move to a bigger room soon.”
“J-judge! That’s right!”
He wholeheartedly agreed with that. After all, he was running out of room to hide the porn games that were piling up with no chance to play them. And they had gathered more possessions as they lived together. So…
“We can start by moving to a 10 square meter room and, um, you know, we can get that pot rack you’ve been-…”
“No, not that.”
Mary bluntly cut him off and suddenly straightened her wobbling head.
“I want to sleep with our futons side by side. No, if possible, in the same futon.”
Naomasa briefly froze in place, but Masazumi soon nodded to say “don’t let it bother you”. She then had Tsukinowa produce a sign frame from her shoulder:
<It’s a necessary step for the history recreation.>
…Our relationship is being regulated! This is the dark side of a regulated society!
But Mary could not see the goings-on behind her.
“Master Tenzou, I want to be able to touch you while I sleep. I would be so happy if you were right next to me when I woke up in the morning and when I woke up in the middle of the night.”
“Thank you very much.”
…I still don’t understand and did she just take that as a yes!?
Mary, however, raised her eyebrows a little and her head nodded a bit. He could tell she was sleepy, but…
“Master Tenzou. Do you know how thankful I am for you?”
Tenzou’s words briefly caught in his throat.
He had a feeling “yes” was the wrong answer, but “no” also seemed like a bad answer.
As he tried to figure out what to say, Neshinbara held up a sign fame by the wall.
<Talk about love. A love that will last more than a hundred billion nights!>
It would seem people actually calm down when their anger reaches the limit.
But Tenzou used the words that came to him naturally.
“I am thankful for you as well, Mary-dono.”
“I am more thankful for you.”
“No, I am.”
“No, I am more thankful.”
“Are you, Mary-dono?”
“I am, Tenzou-dono.”
Mary mimicked his way of speaking and let her shoulders droop.
“After all,” she said. “Ever since coming here, I have wanted for nothing and felt so much happier than in the past.”
Tenzou did not know what to say or think.
He saw tears in her eyes.
She wiped the tears from her cheeks with a casual movement of her track suit sleeve.
So Tenzou opened his mouth.
“Wh-what is it?”
She was drunk, so would she remember this conversation? But he felt like this was something he could only say due to that uncertainty.
And he made sure to check on his surroundings.
…They’re mostly asleep, aren’t they!?
He felt like his future was forfeit simply because the awful merchant was awake and working, but he had no choice. He also saw Naomasa and Masazumi staring out the window while blatantly keeping an ear directed his way.
But he could not let their presence bother him.
This was about Mary. So he moved his knees up toward her.
This is the reverse of earlier, he thought as he continued.
“I am no more than a ninja.”
That was true. He had no special ability provided by his species like a lot of the others and he was not skilled with spells.
“So I merely devote myself to the things I can do and live my life without asking for much,” he said. “But there is one luxury for which I was willing to turn my back on that lifestyle.”
“That is you, Mary-dono.”
Mary stopped moving. Then he raised his right index finger toward her.
“And now that one luxury in my life is saying she is happy with her life here. That is the greatest happiness for me and I take pride in it. I am glad I made the choices and decisions I did and I am glad I have you and everything about you.”
“Then…” More tears spilled from Mary’s eyes. “I need to make sure you make me even happier. And please tell me what I can do to make you happy. After all…”
“Your happiness is my happiness too.”
Naomasa could be heard choking on her kiseru smoke outside the window. After a while, Tenzou also heard Masazumi saying “That’s right, Naomasa. I know just how you feel.”
Regardless, Mary seemed to have calmed down. She was still drunk, but…
“Judge, what is it?”
Mary patted her thigh.
What did that mean?
…? Am I supposed to focus on her thigh?
It was a truly splendid shape.
But then Mary once more patted her thigh as if prompting him to do something.
Eh? he thought with a tilt of the head. He saw her wrinkle her brow a little.
She was upset.
…Huh? Um, wh-why? What is all this?
Mary then slapped her thigh twice, but he still did not understand.
She seemed to be saying “you had better understand without me telling you”. No…
…Mary-dono would say “please understand without me needing to tell you”, wouldn’t she!
He corrected himself, but the situation remained unchanged.
Only after observing his surroundings did he understand what Mary meant.
To their left, the idiot and Horizon were using Asama as…
…A lap pillow.
I see! he realized, but he also shuddered.
At home would be one thing, but if he slept like that here, he could not even guess what the others would do if they woke up first. No, he could actually guess exactly what they would do and it scared him.
…I would easily fill the entire top 10 search terms on the Musashi divine network!
Looking somewhat drunk, she raised her eyebrows a little, but she looked somehow uncertain of herself. In fact, she looked on the verge of tears.
…Mary-dono is mustering her courage, too.
When he heard her slap her thigh again, he spoke.
“Mary-dono. We are being watched.”
Masazumi saw Crossunite disappear.
The ninja vanished in an instant.
Even while sitting right in front of him, Mary’s shoulders jumped in surprise when he vanished. Masazumi could guess this was a ninja technique, but why use it and where had he gone?
She suddenly found Crossunite lying with his head in Mary’s lap.
Mary also finally noticed.
“Oh, dear,” she said. “Master Tenzou? Your hat is touching my chest.”
However, she did not try to remove the hat. Crossunite simply pushed the hat down over his face.
And after checking on his surroundings…
“…This is a luxury.”
“What is it?”
“Next time, can I use your arm as a pillow?”
Naomasa gathered smoke into her right cheek so fast the end of her kiseru glowed red.
She then blew the pale smoke out the window through the left side of her mouth.
“…Today has been bad for my heart.”
“Yeah, I know what you mean. …Hey, look. Naruze is drawing out a storyboard in her sleep.”
Something was also happening with Aoi’s group. Mitotsudaira had lost the battle against sleepiness and collapsed, so her upper body was draped over the idiot and Horizon like a cat.
And in her sleep, the Aoi Sister was opening the stomach of Asama’s inner suit, so just how fully-automatic was that entertainer sister?
But, thought Masazumi as she and Naomasa looked back at them all.
“We’ll be busy in an entirely different way starting tomorrow.”
A few lights were on in the city that night.
The cross-sword information display at the end of the street said, “London – West Soho”. The display’s clock said it was 1 AM.
The road was illuminated by one light source in particular. The light came from a pub known as the Mermaid Tavern and the customers within were divided into two groups: those standing and those collapsed.
The standing group was represented by Elizabeth, who wore casual clothing and carried Ex. Caliburn, and Cecil, who wore her summer uniform. The collapsed group was represented by Jonson and Howard.
“Are you okay, Howard? Should we call your wife?”
“N-no. I-I can stand, I can stand!”
Howard grunted with effort and managed to get up on his knees.
But at that point…
He grew expressionless.
Then he collapsed forward as if the string supporting him had snapped. His forehead made a nice sound as it slammed into the wooden floor, so Elizabeth gave an impressed nod.
“Well done, Howard. So you can pull of a prostration even while drunk off your ass. How about you, Jonson?”
“Jonson hasn’t been moving at all for a while now.”
Cavendish had joined in the festivities using a personal virtual ocean spell, but she now lay on the floor while her mermaid tail occasionally flopped weakly against the floor.
Seeing all of them, Drake spoke to Hawkins next to him.
“We’re supposed to be celebrating Mary’s victory and Walter’s recovery after returning from Russia, so this is just pathetic. I’m personally fond of wine milk, though.”
“This was the obvious result of not pacing their drinking properly. And Sir Walter left with Sir Milton after the atmosphere of the celebration started to grow dangerous.”
“Walter’s danger sense is something else,” said O’Malley as she poked the collapsed group with her staff. “Although part of that is his weakness to alcohol.”
Ivy made of ether grew from the floor and gently wrapped around the collapsed people. The ivy was green at first, but it gradually grew red.
“Are you removing the alcohol?” asked Hawkins.
“No, their blood. I’m being selective, though.”
The mermaid started flopping around, but the ivy was stronger than the drunk.
O’Malley took a bite from a skewer of fried fish and asked the Fairy Queen a question.
“You’re in a good mood, Fairy Queen. Is the alcohol affecting you?”
“H-H-H-H-Her Majesty is drunk?”
“Calm down, Dudley. Calm down and eat some desalted chicken.”
Elizabeth made sure Cecil passed some to Dudley, before…
“This is because of that. Look.”
She casually grabbed Ex. Caliburn from her hip and pointed it southeast.
Everyone in that direction got down on the floor. And that went beyond just the Trumps in the pub. The people on the street also did so once they noticed. As did those in the building across the street and the building beyond that.
“What is with all of you? I might be drunk, but I still know what I’m doing.”
“Fairy Queen! Fairy Queen!” said Bacon. “How do you fire that!? Show me, show me!”
“If you insist, Bacon. You fire it like this.”
She ended up blowing off the pub’s door, tearing off the roof of the building across the street, and receiving a complaint from northern M.H.R.R. which was along the path of the blast.
“F-Fairy Queen! Tomoe Gozen sent a very disrespectful message calling you a moron and telling you to die!”
“But it would be dangerous if that hit someone.”
“Fairy Queen! Fairy Queen! How would it be dangerous!? Show me, show me!”
She ended up receiving a second complaint.
Walsingham caught and brought back the blasted door with her arms.
“…Drain?” she calmly asked.
“My sister must be drunk.” Elizabeth turned her flushed face toward the unseen southeastern sky. “We share some sensations. That would be due to sharing our souls. And I have been receiving more from my sister lately.”
“Y-you mean Double Bloody Mary’s power is growing?”
“She was always the one who held me in check. I can produce my wings of light for an instant, but my sister produced enough water lilies to reach the horizon, remember? …That coincided with England’s ley lines and she was trying to protect this country. She has enough power to do so,” said Elizabeth. “But the more our feelings align, the more easily they are conveyed. I am living a happy life, so when my sister becomes aware of her own happiness…”
She laughed a little.
“She must want to let someone know. …I’m not sure if I’m really the person she most wants to know, however.”
“You seem happy, Fairy Queen.”
“This is nothing but an annoyance, Drake. Weird emotions reach me in the middle of meetings. And if they’re strong enough, physical sensations reach me as well. Or they used to. That stopped happening when-…”
“Don’t say it was when she killed the 300. I’m no good with that sort of thing.”
Drake cut Elizabeth off, so she nodded.
“Let’s just say my sister refused to pass any of her pain onto me. And I don’t mean that as an emotional story. It just means Double Bloody Mary looked down on the Fairy Queen. After all, the Testament says Elizabeth was cruel to Mary.”
“That aside,” someone cut in. It was Bacon who had been examining the merchant who had stopped moving in his prostration pose. The Great Seal of England fairy tilted his head. “Can you not send your feelings to her?”
“The thing about my sister is,” Elizabeth grabbed her glass from the counter, “she isn’t used to having things done for her even though she can’t help but want to do things for others.”
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